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Dental Protection raises wellbeing concern as IOC hearings increase by 127%

Post date: 27/01/2023 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 01/02/2023

Dental Protection has raised concerns about the rapidly growing number of dental professionals being referred to the Interim Orders Committee (IOC), and the impact on wellbeing.

The IOC considers whether it is necessary to make an interim order restricting a dentist or dental care professional’s registration with the GDC. This happens in cases where the regulator determines such action is needed to protect the public interest, pending the outcome of an inquiry by one of the Practice Committees. The IOC does not investigate any allegations in ongoing cases.

The GDC’s fitness to practise and registration statistical reports show that while in 2019 67 cases were referred to the IOC, this figure more than doubled to 152 in 2021 – a 127% increase. The reports also show that an increasing number of these cases year on year were eventually closed with no further action. A quarter (25%) were closed with no interim sanction in 2019, rising to 39% in 2021.

George Wright, Deputy Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:

“Dental Protection supports dental professionals from the moment a GDC complaint is received to its conclusion. We see the impact the investigation process has on the dental professional’s career, reputation and wellbeing. Having to face an IOC hearing during this process adds to this stress and we were concerned to learn that the number of hearings has increased at such an alarming rate in just two years.

“Even more worrying is that the growing proportion of these IOC hearings concluding with no interim sanction suggesting that the cases should not have been referred in the first place. It seems right to question whether the GDC’s processes for identifying suitable cases for referral to an IOC hearing is working as it should.

“Every effort should be made to minimise the impact the fitness to practise process has on the mental health and wellbeing of the professionals involved. This should include ensuring the system which determines the cases that need to be referred to the IOC is robust and is filtering out cases that should be concluded at an earlier stage. We would welcome working with the GDC on this issue.”


Statistics extracted from: 2021 fitness to practise and registration statistical reports

For further information contact Emma Mugizi, Press Officer at MPS: E: [email protected] T:+44 (0)7773 598474

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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